hello there, greetings from rainy bali!
in my home country we have a saying that goes something like “stepping into shit brings good luck”. who wouldn’t want to be lucky?!? as we were getting ready to welcome 2021 we started to smell a really bad smell around our house. it was not exactly ’shit’ smell but more kind of like decaying algae one.. anyway, on the 1st of january we discovered that our septic tank was overflowing and had to call a guy to empty it. what can bring more luck than being knee deep in shit on a 1st day of the year? i have high hopes, 2021!!! so far, the year hasn’t disappointed me, serving me a baby cobra in the shower on my birthday, really unexpected guests and a few other delightful surprises.
let me backtrack a bit though, because last time you heard from me was july 2020. we have been really well here in bali. healthy, at least physically. school opened in august which was a great relief – both for the kids and the parents. it operates in a different way at the moment, masks, protocols, learning pods, no parents on the campus.. which is not great but i’m eternally grateful for what is. the digital addiction of the kids was getting out of hand. and the cabin fever was raging. restaurants, cinemas, beaches and gyms are open too. protocols yes but the common sense seems to prevail so far.
due to covid border restrictions we haven’t had many human visitors lately (the ones who braved it and made it were a very nice addition to the quiet ubud life though!) but it seems like the animal kingdom decided to compensate us for this sad situation. one quiet night i was suddenly woken up by dan excitingly yelling at me – common, wake up, we have a – and he used a word i have never heard before – here…
i was not very happy to be dragged out of bed to see yet another snake i’m not interested in. it was not a snake. it was the most amazing animal i have ever seen in my life. the most trafficked mammal in the world. endangered species. the cuteness personified. it was a pangolin!!! the dogs were going mad and woke dan up. the little guy had curled up in defence. then he climbed up the tree. his scales (coveted for their believed healing qualities in china and the reason why this animal is almost extinct) were shining in the torch light. it’s like the best christmas present ever. i’m filled to the brim with happiness. what an honour to be visited by such a beauty!!! sorry guys, i love having you over but the pangolin..! nature brought us other guests as well – a monkey climbing over the wall and peeping into the kitchen or a beautiful surprise (slightly tinged with a shock) of unrolling a bamboo blind and finding a mangrove snake in it. our resident colonies of squirrels, doves and geckoes are thriving. we are definitely not lonely here. the squirrels are eating the coconuts. the geckoes are eating the mosquitoes. doves are multiplying.
since october, we have had the strongest rainy season i have ever experienced. after the heat built to an unbearable degree the relief was vast. it had been raining dogs and cats (and geckoes and frogs..) for days and nights. riding the scooter in a knee deep water while you are shattered by the torrents of water which no raincoat can stop is an incredible experience. the clothes never seem to dry. you stink. snakes are washed on our porch. frogs croak louder and madder than usually. a landslide next to our house )-: the humidity is so high that mould grows on everything including you if you sit in one place for more than 30 minutes. and of course that’s when the roof starts leaking.. (-; at the moment we still get the most intense thunder storms every night (including whimpering dogs as a bonus) but the days are sunnier and sunnier. i love rainy season but looking forward to feeling dry for a while!
the kids celebrated their birthdays and now we have got two teenagers in the house. i could dedicate an extra email to describe the joys of cohabiting with them but i would probably get lynched here. i’m sure you can imagine the horrors.. and some positives too! linda is ever so passionate about her diving and writing. dom (re)started painting, plays soccer and has taken up thai boxing with me. grateful for small mercies. our beloved fury babies are doing well too – although we had a big scare with misty who might have been poisoned (or just ate something really badly rotten as she is known to do) and ended up on IV. luckily she made it after a few scary and painful days and is her cheerful self again.
dan turned 50 in november (Dan’s 50th birthday – YouTube) and keeps himself (sort of) sane by regular motorbike trips around bali and indonesia. his latest adventure lasted one month – 360’ off-road ride around the island of flores with beautiful volcanos, hot pools, sleeping on the beach, megalithic villages, people living in misty mountains like centuries ago.. then he took a little break on a sailing boat and rode back to bali for several hundred kilometres, using local ferries and hospitality of empty hotels on the road. covid has definitely taken its toll on the tourist industry here and no bookings are required.
otherwise life in ubud, in spite of certain restrictions, goes on as usually. the hilarious community of weirdos never cease to bring smile to my face. when you can open your phone and find the types of messages like here, you are never bored – people looking for ethically resourced skulls (i was really tempted to volunteer mine at some point..), people asking you to donate recordings of the sounds of your orgasms for a collaborative project to name a few.. as we are kind of locked up here in bali – in paradise but still locked up – people are definitely getting tiny bit crazier. recently i couldn’t stop laughing over breakfast with a dear friend from canggu when we were comparing the craziness of ubud and her town – the raising number of tantra workshops here and bondage parties in her neighbourhood.. people need some entertainment for sure! so far i only went for a new tattoo but you never know(-;
a few days ago i met a spanish family with two little girls (4 and 6) who recently moved to bali. the lady was explaining how they were thinking back and forth whether to move or not in these uncertain times. then one day she wanted to hug her daughter and the little one refused saying – no mom, you can’t hug me it’s too dangerous! and that was it. off they went. hearing stories like this drives me crazy. what have we done to our children with all this media brainwashing! i know everyone cannot move to bali or costa rica. not everyone would want to. but let’s stay human and use our brains and switch the media off.
as great as it is to be in bali, this past year has taken a toll on my mental health. i haven’t seen my mom for 1.5 years. i see my kids slipping into addiction. i cannot do what i want to do. i don’t know what is going to happen with world. i’m loosing friends. thank god not to covid but to the huge differences in opinions. i cook and cook and cook and i want to kill someone by banging their heads with the frying pan (especially when they don’t come for dinner when i call). i realised i’m slipping a bit too much into the darkness. so i decided to take care of myself a bit. i thought about various options. i don’t like doing half-arsed things so i chose panchakarma – the strongest and most challenging cleansing in terms of its process and effects in indian traditional art of medicine, ayurveda. and here i am, taking two weeks off from the family life, drinking ghee every morning (you can’t imagine how disgusting that is..) and getting super nice and not very nice treatments every day. more about that next time.
please let me know how is your world, in and out.
lots of love and hugs,